31 Jan 2023 14:22

Russian MinFin supports prompt launch of digital financial assets on traditional exchanges

MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) - The Finance Ministry is in favor of the fastest possible launch of digital financial assets (DFA) on traditional exchanges, and it is necessary to accelerate the adoption of the relevant decisions, the director of the Finance Ministry's Financial Policy Department Ivan Chebeskov said on Tuesday at a conference titled "The Russian Financial Marking Facing Global Challenges."

"We have been looking at CFA all along as a move away from intermediaries (...), but now there is probably a need to launch faster, to make it all work much faster than in normal times, because we need something to entice an investor, so conceptually I would support the market proposal to bring digital financial assets to current exchange platforms, if it allows us to increase turnover of such assets, why shouldn't we do it now. Maybe in normal times such decisions should not have been made and we should have waited a bit, but now, it seems to me, is the time when we need to accelerate such decisions," he said.

Previously, the SPB Exchange spoke out in favor of an organized DFA market on the basis of classical stock market approaches with the use of exchange, clearing and broker infrastructure. Last September the head of the Moscow Exchange supervisory board Sergey Shvetsov also announced that the exchange had sent to the Central Bank a proposal to issue receipts for DFA using its infrastructure.

Last November, the issue of DFA on traditional stock exchanges was also mentioned by the Central Bank in its report titled "Development of the digital assets market in Russia" published for public discussion. The Central Bank identifies two possible regulatory approaches. The first is the direct circulation of digital rights in the exchange infrastructure. The implementation of this approach, according to the regulator, requires an assessment of the feasibility of granting the exchange the status of a digital assets exchange operator and extending rules similar to those for traditional assets to digital assets admitted to organized trading.

The second option is the circulation of "digital certificates" (securities that certify the ownership of digital assets by their owners). This design allows for the accounting and transfer of rights to such certificates in the manner prescribed for securities, which creates the possibility of mediated circulation of digital rights in organized trading using traditional securities market infrastructure, the report indicated. The regulator noted that traditional exchanges can already obtain the status of a digital asset exchange operator.

There are currently three companies in the register of operators of information systems to issue DFA, which is maintained by the Central Bank: the blockchain platform Atomyze (its consortium of investors includes Interros), Sberbank's platform and fintech company Lighthouse (which is developing a digital financial ecosystem together with Transmashholding).